On May 26, in a touching ceremony at the Arturo Illia Hall, in the Honorable Senate of Argentina, a tribute was made to Holocaust survivor Ceslada Eisen de Keselman, who died on March 27, 2014 at the age of 94.
Cesha, as she liked to be called because it was the name her parents had given her, was born in Radomsko, Poland on September 2, 1919 to a Jewish family consisting of her father, mother and two older sisters. The Holocaust destroyed that family, leaving her alone at a young age.
In the midst of all the horror, she met Juan Keselman. She fled devastated Germany in 1946 with him and their young daughter, and they started a new life in a country away from all that pain. That was why they decided to travel to Argentina.
Cesha and Juan had two children, Noemi Dora and Abraham Felipe, named after the couple’s parents as a tribute to them. They gave Cesha and Juan four grandchildren, and today the family includes six great-grandchildren.
The Traces to Remember commemorative plaque with their hand prints and the hand prints of their descendants was unveiled during the event. Among those present were Ms. Alba Poratti, on behalf of Senator Rozas of the Province of Chaco.
«The undeniable need to remember the past in order to value what we have ...»
Cesha’s daughter, Dora Keselman, expressed heartfelt words on behalf of her family present:
«Hello mom, I want to disregard the people that surround me for a moment and have a simple and personal dialogue with you like the ones we’ve had all these years. You left 30 days ago, but there has not been a day that I have not felt your presence. Sometimes I see you with a smiling and happy face like in your childhood, sharing your happiness with your parents and two siblings. Other times I see your face describing the inexplicable horror you went through due to the insanity of a group that renounced their humanity, becoming aggressive heartless beasts without reason. Your parents and sisters said goodbye forever. It is impossible for me to even imagine your young face of loneliness.
And there occurred the miracle of love: Juan took your hand, which no longer possessed the strength to fight, and crossed the jungle, sheltering you with his strength to defend you, and his tenderness to embrace you. It is a story like many others, but today, at a distance, I see you both together with those same eyes that I first opened in that devastated Berlin in 1946.
To start over in a free country, without war or hunger: that was the dream. The three of us left without a destination, but with hope. Argentina… you did not even know how to pronounce the name. Blessed be this land which received us with open arms! There was sunlight here after the storm. I can imagine your surprise and smile, your deep and heavenly eyes, wet again, but this time with joy.
The horror was left behind. Now there was only room for hope.
My brother was born here, the first Argentinean of the family, and we all adopted this homeland. Our happy destiny! All of my mother’s faces that I remember since then were of inner peace and happiness.
Slowly the wrinkles started to show (“arugas,” she used to say), almost always framing her smile. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren populated your house with its doors always open to welcome them. Your table filled at every party. Sometimes a shadow, a moment of silence and a blank stare into space surely meant a painful memory.
That is the reason for this meeting: the undeniable need to remember the past in order to value what we have, so that we never have to mourn unfair deaths again. That should be the message at this homage. We are not only gathered here to mourn deaths, but to celebrate life. But it is the responsibility of everyone that what happened is not forgotten.
The tragedy of the Holocaust should be definitively incorporated into the history of humanity.
I thank you with all my heart for this tribute to my mother, Ceslada Eisen de Keselman. The Global Embassy of Activists for Peace thus transmits their message that history is a trace to remember, and that it should be a reminder for the future, a future of peace and harmony forever, without violations, abuse or discrimination. Thank you very much."